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Legal | Stan Lee’s Guardian Project, introduced last year at New York Comic Con, has sparked a lawsuit from a Hollywood manager who claims he was cut out of the venture, which transformed National Hockey League mascots into superheroes.
In the lawsuit, filed last week in Los Angeles Superior Court, Adam Asherson contends the project, now co-owned by NBC Universal, dates back to 2003, when he was introduced to the idea by fellow manager Anthony Chargin and Chargin’s client Jake Shapiro. Asherson, who had a relationship with Lee, says he suggested the legendary comics writer would be the “perfect” partner for the endeavor. They pitched Lee on the project, called Defenders, which focused on the National Football League, with plans to expand to Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association and the NHL. For unspecified reasons, the NFL deal never came together. However, six years later The Guardian Project emerged with the involvement of Chargin, Shapiro and Lee — but without Asherson.
Asherson claims Guardian Media Entertainment, SLG Entertainment, Chargin and Shapiro have breach an oral joint-venture agreement, committed promissory estoppel and fraud, and breach fiduciary duties by leaving him out of the NHL agreement. [Hollywood, Esq.]
Stan Lee’s to-do list seems to grow with every major comics convention. This time it’s New York Comic Con, kicking off on Friday, where a Stan Lee and the National Hockey League will officially introduce a new venture called Guardian Media Entertainment.
According to the press release, “this partnership creates the platform from which to launch Stan Lee’s vision for his latest superhero franchise, The Guardian Project.” In short, Lee will come up with 30 superheroes, each representing an NHL team, with the aim of appealing to tween boys.
This release, from motion-capture and company Vicon House of Moves, indicates that artist Neal Adams is somehow involved.
“GME hopes to bring a new audience to the NHL, while engaging the existing, established hockey fan base through a compelling tale of good vs. evil,” the announcement states. The 30 Guardians will be unveiled on Jan. 30 at the 2011 NHL All-Star Game in Raleigh, N.C. The plan is to roll out The Guardian Project online, and in mobile applications, publishing, gaming, NHL arenas, merchandising and more.
A teaser for The Guardian Project will be debut Friday at NYCC.